Heart health: tongue coating can indicate heart failure

Heart health: tongue coating can indicate heart failure

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Tongue microbes as a window to heart health

Apparently there are clear differences between the microorganisms that live on the tongue of healthy people and the tongue microbiome of people with heart disease. This new discovery could contribute to the early and easy diagnosis of heart disease, especially heart failure.

Researchers at the European Society of Cardiology show that an analysis of the tongue can be used to draw conclusions about the state of the heart. Certain microorganisms, tongue coatings and the color of the tongue indicate the presence of cardiovascular diseases.

The difference is already visible

Microorganisms on the tongue could help diagnose heart failure, scientists from the European Society of Cardiology report. "The tongue of those with chronic heart failure looks completely different from that of healthy people," emphasizes study author Dr. Tianhui Yuan. The tongues of the two groups already differ optically. While the tongues of normal people are rather pale red with a pale white coating, the tongues of heart failure sufferers are more characterized by a stronger reddish color with a yellowish coating.

According to the researchers, the reason for the appearance of the tongue is a difference in the composition of the tongue's microbome. "Our study showed that the composition, the amount and the dominant bacteria of the tongue coating differ between heart failure patients and healthy people," reports the scientist.

Tongue microbes also indicate pancreatic cancer

These results expand previous research that has already shown that the tongue coatings of healthy people differ from those of people with pancreatic cancer. The analysis of the tongue microbiome could establish itself as a valuable diagnostic method in the future.

How does this come about

As the research team reports, certain bacteria are associated with inflammatory responses and immune responses. The presence of such bacteria is a sign of a microbial imbalance and increased inflammation. Such processes also play an important role in heart failure.

Course of the study

In the study, the team compared the composition of the tongue microbiome of 42 participants with chronic heart failure with the tongue microbes of 28 healthy people. All samples were taken in the morning, before breakfast and brushing your teeth. The researchers found that the microbiome of all healthy people and the microbiome of all sick people were similar. However, there were big differences between the two groups.

Predict heart failure using five types of bacteria

The scientists identified five types of bacteria that can be used to distinguish between healthy and weak hearted people. The likelihood of success in identifying heart failure in this way was 84 percent.

The stronger the expression of these types of bacteria, the more advanced was the heart weakness. This was especially true when the concentrations of bacteria of the genus Eubacterium and Solobacterium were increased.

New form of diagnosis of heart failure?

"More research is needed, but our results suggest that tongue microbes, which are easy to analyze, could help with broad-based early diagnosis, diagnosis, and long-term monitoring of heart failure," said Dr. The interplay between microorganisms in the tongue coating and the heart function deserves further and more detailed investigations. (vb)

Further information can be found in the article "Tongue covering: coated tongue".

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • ESC: Tongue microbes provide window to heart health (published 06/23/2020),

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